More than a decade ago, we got the DMCA.
Many people hated it but the content community (Hollywood) pushed very hard for it. They wanted to control what content could and couldn’t exist on the Internet.
I’m over simplifying things greatly but the basic DMCA deal was the following
1. Users take responsibility for content that upload
2. Content owners notify website owners of infringing material
3. Website owners receive the notice, review the notice and then take down any infringing content.
That is how the web operates.
That’s why eBay isn’t shut down if some rogue users sells infringing DVDs.
It’s the same principle as any network we have today. If some rogue user sells infringing DVDs over the phone , the police pursue the user. They dont shut down the phone company.
But Hollywood has decided to go nuclear instead of embracing the web and the law on the books.
And they don’t want to live with the DMCA compromise. In fact they have consistently tried to go around it.
-UMG sued News Corp’s MySpace
-Viacom sued Google’s YouTube
-UMG’s lawsuit again Veoh in which the courts defended Veoh
Do you see the pattern?
Now Hollywood wants the nuclear option. They want to turn off sites that they don’t like or because of a few rogue users. They don’t want to give a take down notice and live with the rules of the DMCA — they just want to erase the site from the web along with data from the vast majority of users that don’t infringe.
The interesting thing about the folks pushing SOPA is their effort comes from a small group. The only folks I hear taking a pro SOPA stance are CEO’s in Holllywood or spokespeople for special interest groups like the MPAA. Or lobbyists. On the other hand I know many folks that work for big media companies that haven’t publicly supported SOPA on twitter or blogs. My guess is they know SOPA isn’t right but they aren’t able or willing to speak up.
Fortunately the Stop SOPA movement is getting stronger and louder.
Keep it up and make your voice heard.